Oklahoma Native Americans Concerned About Future Of Indian Healthcare

Tuesday, January 31st 2017, 7:50 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Tuesday was the last day to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and it could be the last day ever as President Trump has promised to repeal it, but Native Americans say a full repeal could be devastating for their healthcare. 

Approximately 2.2 million people across the country benefit from the Indian Health Service, but it's underfunded.

The Indian Healthcare Improvement Act, allows healthcare providers like the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic to bill Medicare, Medicaid and third party insurers to keep the system running.

The IHCIA, although it's been around for decades, was lumped in with the Affordable Care Act back in 2010. 

At the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, they serve about 20,000 patients and they rely heavily the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act.  

When News 9 asked CEO Robyn Sunday-Allen how concerned she was about the IHCIA being repealed, she answered, “Very concerned.”

“If this bill is repealed it’s going to be devastating to Indian country,” said Sunday-Allen.

Congressman Tom Cole, who is Chickasaw, said if he does not have assurance that IHCIA will be in the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, he will vote against it.